Edmonton is fast becoming Canada's answer to Hollywood. We had just got over the excitement of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's visit to West Edmonton Mall when up pops another showbiz celebrity eager to associate himself with the glamorous capital of Alberta!
I managed to take this one photo before being knocked to the ground by his minders and escorted out of the mall by several goons in suits. It's about time these celebrities understood that it's the fans, like me, that put them in their privileged position.
There was no sign of Minnie, which is bound to add fuel to the recent rumours.
The best place to go to feed the ducks in Edmonton is Hawrelak Park. The park contains a big lake, officially named Hawrelak Lake, but known to the locals as 'Duck Lake'. There are even special duck food dispensers to encourage would-be duck-feeders to leave their bread at home (bread makes the ducks constipated causing them to sink).
Mrs Toque and I popped along on Sunday hoping to get some duck-feeding action but were disappointed to find that all the ducks had gone. So to had the duck-feeding dispensers, presumably taken down so that the ducks wouldn't stay into the winter and get frozen into the ice.
There were however hundreds of honking geese. And seagulls.
Note to English Tourists. In England, where it is the custom that only the Queen is permitted to eat swans, as it is here in Canada where only Paul Martin is allowed to partake of Canada goose meat. Also, if you are coming to Canada for the ducks remember that, unlike in England, they don't overwinter here.
Last week we travelled out to Beaverhill Lake bird sanctuary, 40 miles East of Edmonton, to spot some of our feathered friends. However, the lake was obscured by rushes hiding the waterfowl, and the song birds were totally hidden by dense aspen.
All was not lost though, for we got to see the real Alberta; the Alberta where you can watch your dog run away for three days:
The Alberta of cows:
And more cows:
And cow rustlers in trucks:
And, errrr....caterpillars on thistles:
I have been accepted into the Edmonton Bloggers blogroll. Naturally this is some cause for celebration, and so, to mark this auspicious occasion, and without further ado, I give you these photos of Edmonton in celebration of our beautiful city.
I am also obliged to slag off Calgary, so I have adapted an English maxim about the Scots for this very occasion:
"The noblest prospect a Calgarian ever sees is the high road that leads him to Edmonton."
Fellow Edmonton bloggers, I beseech thee; this should be our motto!
Yesterday was my birthday. I seem to remember my birthday being in the summer, albeit the tail-end of summer, but not anymore. Just look at the path outside my house. Must be a Canadian thing. It's 11°C and raining here, it won't be long until it starts snowing!
It's all rather depressing. So last night we went out for some comfort food to cheer ourselves up, our destination was an Indian restaurant - or 'East Indian' restaurant as they call them here, presumably to differentiate from 'red indians' - called New Asian Village.
I had a chicken balti and naan, and a few pints of Charles Wells IPA (New Asian Village has the best beer selection in Edmonton) and then went home and watched some Champions League football - Real Madrid vs Lyon.
You can take the boy out of England but you can't take England out of the boy.
Yesterday Wales were playing England at 8am Alberta time so I popped along the road and joined a club, the 'Elephant and Castle Soccer Fanatic Club'.
Here's my membership card to prove it:
Unfortunately, as I found out when I went to order a beer, Alberta licensing laws do not permit the sale of alcohol until 10am so the 70 or so England fans assembled had to watch the match dry.
Nevertheless, and given that it wasn't a great game, the atmosphere wasn't bad and I settled down to watch with my English Premier League breakfast (eschewing the 'Beckham Breakfast Bagel') and a refillable cup of coffee, in the company of the other sober England fans and a couple of Scots who were supporting Wales.
I used to get pissed off with the 'support anyone but England' attitude of the Scots but these days I'm pleased that they are like that. I'm glad they hate us, and I'm glad that Wales hate us too. The game was notable for two things, and two things only to be honest. First was the fact that the Welsh fans drowned out the British national anthem with a cacophony of booing; and second, a fine save by England keeper Paul Robinson deny a Welsh goal - a feat of athleticism that was cursed by the two Scots watching.
I have never booed the anthem of another country, I think it's a churlish and despicable thing to do. Having said that I may well join the Scots and the Welsh in booing God Save the Queen when played at England matches in the future, and here's why:
At international football matches the Scottish team sing 'Flower of Scotland' and the Welsh team sing 'Land of our Fathers', and both sets of fans join in with much gusto and pride. The English team however are lumbered with having to sing 'God Save the Queen' which is the British national anthem. This pisses me off. Why don't the English Football Association allow us to have an English national anthem like Jerusalem? Why when we play Scotland and Wales are we singing an anthem that applies equally to those countries. It's bloody ridiculous!
Recently Sepp Blatter - a man universally loathed by football fans across the globe - has said that a Great Britain football team MUST compete at the London Olympics 2012. Fuck off Sepp you cunt.
I will not support a British team. I am English. I would rather that no team from the UK competed rather than one that was composed of a mixture of the home nations.
The Scotsman newspaper comments:
Blatter does not care about such issues [heritage and tradition], of course. He thinks about prestige and about revenues. He can calculate the worth of the GB brand in world football and he knows that England, in particular, are the financial hub of the European game. Hence his unsought endorsement for another English World Cup bid. Hence his apparent belief that the Scots, Welsh and Irish are mere bureaucratic details.
Yet why should Scottish football be sacrificed – for such is the logical outcome of the idea – in the process? If, like me, you are sceptical about the London Olympics in the first place, you can almost smell the politics. If you happen also to be a political anorak, you will remember the likes of Jack Straw, then Home Secretary, calling for a GB football team years ago, the better to strengthen “Britishness”. He wasn’t kidding, either, and nor was Tony Blair when he invested so much of his own reputation in the attempt to secure the Olympics for the English capital.
By “instructing” the home nations to provide a British team for 2012 he is trying to eradicate what many Europeans regard as a historical anomaly: the fact that one state (UK) has representation from four home nations; England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. In addition Blatter believes that the inclusion of a British team will be a sure fire way of ensuring that thousands of English fans turn out to see their stars perform at Wembley.
English football is a powerhouse of the world game, on a club and international level it is the top brand. England does not need Welsh, Scottish or Northern Irish players to be competitive. And the last thing the minnow football associations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland need is to be shoved into the same room as the English elephant. Not only do the fans not want this, but there is no suggestion that any of the players support such a move.
Sepp Blatter you are a cunt. You have no regard for the heritage of football or the wishes of the fans in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. You can fuck off and take English quislings Trevor Brooking and David Davis with you. I will never, never support a British team. And not only will I not support a Bitish team, I will support the opposition, boo the British players and boo the national anthem.
For more on this see Alfie the OK.
Shoppers and Fringe goers on sunny Whyte Av were today left shocked as F16 fighters struck at the heart of Edmonton.
UPDATE: It would appear that my earlier report about F16 fighters was incorrect. Actually it was a condominium building that was on fire after a propane tank blew up. However, don't rule out the Americans!
Some more photos of the Fringe, and looking down Calgary Trail South at the inferno:
Initially it looked to me as if the fire was coming from Billingsgate Fishmarket, because we could actually see the flames from Whyte Av and they appeared to be licking around the tower. In fact Mrs Toque even had to hold onto me to prevent me from running down there to get myself some seared lobster.
It's been a while since Klondike Days and to be honest I don't remember much about it. It was the week before my wedding and I was busy in a pre-wedding kind of way, getting drunk and entertaining guests from England, so I didn't get around to blogging about it.
Nevertheless, I do seem to remember getting extremely drunk in the big tent and then wandering around a fairground wondering where the 'Klondike' aspect to this whole carouse was. We went on a few rides, the most memorable being this thing, from the top of which I took wobbly photos.
Eventually we got bored of the rides and headed back to the beer tent, the dancefloor was the main attraction, though I forget why, and I vaguely remember pissing myself laughing at some guy in sandals, who obviously usually wears socks, trying to chat up two hot cowgirls. You'll see what I mean if you click on the photo.
I'm always amazed that Canadians wear socks with their sandals. At least now I know why.